Helping Communities Prepare for Climate Change

Resilience Partnership in Louisiana's Region 7 Watershed

Resilience Partnership in Louisiana's Region 7 Watershed

Guided by a local project work group, GCC and the Capital Region Planning Commission (CRPC) in Louisiana have launched an innovative partnership to support Louisiana communities in the state’s Region 7 Watershed in protecting people from flooding risks and promoting resilient, affordable housing. GCC and CRPC are engaging state, regional, and local policymakers and other experts and stakeholders in Louisiana to co-develop innovative strategies and practical steps for identifying and mitigating flood risk in Louisiana communities.

Legal & Policy Toolkits

Legal & Policy Toolkits

The Georgetown Climate Center has developed several legal and policy toolkits to assist states and communities working to build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Created by GCC staff in collaboration with leading federal, state, and local policymakers, affected community members, Georgetown Law faculty and students, and other experts, each toolkit includes practical legal and policy tools, best and emerging practices, and case studies from across the U.S.


With the planet warming and extreme weather becoming the new normal, states and communities are seeking out resources to help them anticipate climate impacts and protect residents, homes, businesses, and public infrastructure.  Now is the time to begin taking steps to build stronger and safer communities and prepare for rising seas, heat, drought, wildfires, extreme weather, and other climate impacts on the way.

See below for tools developed in conjunction with the Georgetown Climate Center to asssist communities in preparing for climate change.

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Our Adaptation Projects
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Adaptation News
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Developing and Maintaining the Adaptation Clearinghouse

The Adaptation Clearinghouse is an online database and networking site that seeks to assist state policymakers, resource managers, academics, and others who are working to help communities adapt to climate change. The Clearinghouse contains more than 2,000 resources. 

The Center regularly partners with organizations, such as the EPA, the Urban Sustainability Directors Netork, the American Society of Adaptation Professionals, and other organizations working on resilience and adaptation issues through the Clearinghouse.   

Supporting Adaptation that is Equitable and Just

Recognizing that vulnerability to climate change is social as much as it is physical, Georgetown Climate Center supports policy options that address social inequities and climate exposure together. The center is collecting resources that showcase and provide guidance on equitable adaptation in our Adaptation Clearinghouse and is partnering with U.S. cities to explore policy options, such as techniques to encourage more affordable resilient housing, targeting green infrastructure in low-income neighborhoods, and creating local hire programs to ensure resilience investments bring economic benefits.

Preparing for Urban Heat Impacts

The Georgetown Climate Center works with state and local governments to develop “heat-smart” communities that are well prepared to cope with rising temperatures — to both help them identify the adaptation choices available and navigate through the legal obstacles they may face in trying to implement different options. Learn more about the Center's law, policy, and on-the-ground work in this area.

Preparing for Sea-Level Rise and Flooding Impacts

Global sea levels could rise three to six feet over the next century. The Center is working with state and local governments to help them become “coast-smart” — that is, better prepared to cope with the threats posed by rising sea levels and higher storm surges. We convene dialogs between states, local governments, and federal agencies to ensure that lessons learned are shared widely to inform future policy actions.

Preparing for Climate Change Impacts in the Transportation Sector

Every year, taxpayers pay hundreds of billions of dollars for transportation and related infrastructure—infrastructure that is becoming increasingly vulnerable to flooding and damage from extreme heat as a result of climate change. The Georgetown Climate Center regularly works with communities, states, and the federal government to address climate change impacts in the transportation sector.

Working with Cities to Improve Green Infrastructure

In order to ensure effective adaptation, communities need help identifying and implementing the most appropriate policies. The Georgetown Climate Center is working with a group of local partners to identify the best green infrastructure practices that cities are beginning to experiment with and to translate these lessons into a toolkit in order to share the best practices with communities across the country.


Comparison of Adaptation Provisions in the Kerry-Boxer and Waxman-Markey Bills
November 6, 2009

This document provides a side-by-side comparison of all adaptation provisions in Kerry Boxer (S.1733) and Waxman-Markey (H.R.2454).


Climate Change and Public Health
November 1, 2009

In this presentation, Sara Hoverter with the Harrison Institute for Public Law outlines the public health impacts of climate change and what states and localities are doing to prepare and implement adaptation plans.


Coastal Adaptation in the U.S.
November 1, 2009

In this presentation, Executive Director Vicki Arroyo outlines emerging state and federal adaptation proposals.


Comparison of Adaptation Provisions in Waxman-Markey (H.R.2454)
June 5, 2009

Comparisons of adaption provisions in the committee-passed and House-passed versions of Waxman-Markey (H.R.2454).


Comparison of Adaptation Provisions in Waxman-Markey (H.R.2454) Early Versions
May 30, 2009

Comparisons of adaption provisions in the Waxman-Markey (H.R.2454) discussion draft and committee-passed version.


NYC Building Resiliency Task Force Releases Recommendations
July 2, 2013

The New York City Building Resiliency Task Force recently released its recommendations to improve the resiliency of the City’s commercial buildings, hospitals, multifamily residences, and smaller homes. The...


Mayor Bloomberg Introduces Comprehensive Resilience Plan for NYC
July 2, 2013

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently introduced a comprehensive plan, A Stronger, More Resilient New York, to protect the city from coastal storms like Hurricane Sandy that are expected to increase in...


Bills Attempting to Roll Back Biggert-Waters National Flood Insurance Program Reforms
June 17, 2013

Several bills have been introduced in the 113th Congress to roll back the insurance subsidy reforms that were included in the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.1 Biggert Waters reformed the...


Understanding the Adaptation Provisions of the Sandy Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (H.R. 152)
May 24, 2013

Disaster relief funding presents an opportunity for state and local governments to rebuild in a manner that anticipates and responds to future changes in the climate. In most cases, programs funded through...


Legislative Study Urges Virginia to Launch Coordinated Planning to Avoid Catastrophic Flooding
April 30, 2013

A new study calls on the State of Virginia and coastal localities to launch a comprehensive and coordinated planning effort to avoid catastrophic flooding related to sea-level rise. The report predicts that...


New FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps Double Number of Structures in Flood Zones for Parts of New York City
April 30, 2013

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently released updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps for parts of New York City that double the number of structures located in flood zones.  The maps include...


Preparing for Climate Changes with Living Shorelines (Webinar)
April 5, 2013

Georgetown Climate Center staff and state experts from Maryland and Alabama recently discussed important opportunities states can pursue to expedite the adoption of living shorelines and better prepare their communities...


Boston Harbor Association Releases Sea-level Rise Report, Mayor Responds with Policy Initiatives
February 6, 2013

In a new report, Preparing for the Rising Tide, the Boston Harbor Association finds that before 2100, nearly six percent of the city will be flooded twice daily at high tide. The report’s figures are based on an...


National Climate Assessment Report Released
January 14, 2013

On January 11, 2013, the National Climate Assessment Draft Advisory Committee (NCADAC) released a draft of the third National Climate Assessment Report.  The report reinforces previous assessments that our...


Maryland Gov. O'Malley Signs Executive Order to Help State Prepare for Climate Change and Extreme Weather
January 2, 2013

On Dec. 28, 2012, Governor Martin O’Malley signed the "Climate Change and Coast Smart Construction Executive Order" to increase Maryland’s long term resiliency to flooding and sea-level...